Opioid deaths hit an all-time high last year in Massachusetts, reaching nearly six-thousand.
The opioid epidemic is threatening individuals and families across Massachusetts and the country.
Tonight, Western Mass News Reporter Ray Hershel introduced us to an East Longmeadow mother who lost both her son and daughter to overdose deaths.
"They were great kids. Ainsley was much more outgoing than Patrick. He was more on the quiet side," said Patti Ahern.
The high school graduation picture of Patti Ahern's son Patrick and daughter Ainsley is displayed on the mantle of her living room fireplace.
"Ainlsey passed away November 4, 2015, and then 90 days later, Patrick passed away February 5, 2016.”
Both her son and daughter passed away from heroin overdoses.
It's a nightmare that no parent should ever have to live through.
Both 33-year old Ainsley and 35-year old Patrick, had battled addiction for years and had been in and out of rehab.
“She was always my little daredevil and I believe she may have started with oxycodone pills and that may have been when she was living in NYC.”
"Patrick was very much against what his sister was doing and at some point in his life got involved with Percocet, and he graduated to heroin as well.”
Patti said both her children were good kids, graduated from East Longmeadow high school and attended college.
Ainsley was a cosmetologist.
Patrick and auto technician.
She never thought this would happen.
"Your children are your future, my children were my life. Everything I did revolved around my children.”
And now her children are gone. Lost to addiction.
“The reality has finally set in. They're not going to walk through that door, they're not going to call me on the phone.”
While dealing with her own pain, Patti also has a message for other parents.
Never give up on your children.
And don't think this kind of tragedy can't happen to you.
Patti is also reaching out to help others who have lost loved ones to addiction.
She is one of the facilitators for a group called Grasp, an acronym for grief recovery after substance passing.
"I think we're all in that same boat, so we all know how the next one feels.”
But as she deals with her loss, she tells her story with the hope that it will help others who have lost loved ones and who are trying to deal with their own pain.
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